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I see on social media that there are a number of places that have yet to see their first signs of hardwater. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Here, in the middle of Alberta, its about 8 weeks from the time the weather is too cold for open water boating to our first steps on the ice. I guess you could technically fish until the water is solid and then keep fishing once ice is here, but for average “reasonable folks”, that’s the period where we put the open water gear away, prepare the hardwater tackle, and maybe chase a few antlers around the woods.
This past Sunday, I met up with a friend I haven’t seen in person since COVID hit. It was great to get together and go ice fishing, it almost felt like old times.
Wabamun has a large boat launch, ample parking. And the fish are only a hundred yards or so off the main pier. We set up in 8′ of water and the clarity lent itself to sight fishing pretty well. I try to avoid fishing the popular spots and will choose a less trafficked location if I have my say, but my fishin’ buddy saw this recent YouTube video and wanted to try it too.
It was a beautiful day! The temperature was just below freezing and there wasn’t even a whisper of wind. A few minutes after I drilled the first hole there was a quick mark on the flasher, a sure sign that we’re in the right spot. The tent was set up to give me a break from the cold but I honestly didn’t need it. I spent most of the day drilling and hole hopping in order to find a bite. After unsuccessfully working crankbaits and flutter spoons, I found that the ole jig and a minnow was just the ticket the walleye’s wanted. Sometimes the classics are all you need. The walleye action was slow but steady all day, with a few small pike showing up on the tip-up I had set just outside my tent.
New for this season is my Marcum VS485C underwater camera. There was a recent sale at the Fishin’ Hole and since I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I just had to have one. I’ve wanted to purchase a camera for quite a while and with the quick advancement of technology I thought I’d purchase a high end high definition unit. Price is a limiting factor though, and since I’m all about value, I decided a standard definition camera was better than no camera at all. I’m pleased to say I’m quite happy with my purchase, especially since the price of the VS485C came down from $650 CAD to $350 CAD (sale price) this year. Check out the footage below:
Once I’ve had a chance to use it for a while, and in some challenging conditions, I will post a full review!
If you’ve been waiting patiently for safe ice, don’t wait too much longer! Ice fishing is at its best during the early ice period. Just remember to be safe; check the ice conditions with your spud bar as you make your way out, wear ice picks around your neck, and take a buddy with you so that you’re not fishing alone. Tight Lines, Anglers.